would be great if every couple agreed on everything but that
is an unlikely event. One partner may have been raised in
a relaxed environment; another may have been raised in a very
strict home. What is acceptable by one partner may be appalling
to another. It is important to discuss with your partner what
your parenting objectives are. Decide what values are important
to both of you. You will find that some things are more important
to you than to your partner and vice versa. Here are some
steps you can do to work towards resolving parenting disagreements.
Discuss your parenting objectives. What is important to both
of you? Sit down with your partner and decide what values
are most important. Also what areas are not as important?
Talk about where your children are developmentally and what
they are capable of understanding. Sometimes the reasons for
parenting disputes are because one partner thinks that a child
is capable of understanding something and the other disagrees.
Knowing what your child's cognitive level is will help you
to make better decisions. Do not compare your child to other
children. You can use examples based on what they are capable
of doing and not doing. For instance, if you ask them to get
something out of their toy box, do they understand and go
get it? If not expecting your child to be able to understand
certain things may be unreasonable.
3. Find out what both of your parenting strengths and weaknesses
are. Many times both parents want the same things for their
kids. Compliment your partner on his/her strengths. Don't
just point out your partner's flaws.
4. The majority of parenting disagreements are over discipline
methods and when it is appropriate to discipline. One parent
may think that spanking is the best method and the other may
prefer time outs or something else. One of the most effective
ways to resolve this issue is to talk about it. Find out the
reasons why your partner feels the way he/she does. There
are pros and cons to every form of parenting. Talk about why
your partner thinks his/her discipline style is the better
method. Sometimes talking about it will help you to see each
other's point of view.
5. If the discussion gets heated, agree to disagree. Fighting
about how to parent is only going to make the situation worse.
Walk away, take a break and discuss it when you are not angry.
6. Plan ahead. Discuss problem situations you are having with
your children. For instance, if you are having a problem with
your child having temper tantrums, discuss how you think this
should be handled. If you have a plan in action, it will be
easier for both of you to follow each other's wishes.
7. Pick your battles. Some things you may never agree on.
You don't have to agree on everything. Find the issues that
are most important to you and work on resolving those first.
8. Do not argue about parenting in front of your children.
This is easier said than done. The best way to handle a situation
you don't agree with is not to interrupt but to wait till
later and then discuss how you think it could have been handled
9. Work on role modeling communication. If your children see
that you communicate and problem solve together, they will
grow up to do the same. Children often repeat patterns of
their own parents. Look at your relationship and evaluate
how you communicate. Is this the way you would like your children
to communicate with their future partner?
10. Parenting and relationships are a growing process. The
more you communicate the better parent/partner you will be.
Learn from each other and listen to each other. Build on your
parenting strengths and tackle your parenting weaknesses a
little at a time. It won't happen over night but if you continue
to discuss things with your partner calmly and positively
you will become better parenting partners.
Marriage & Family Therapist and Creator of The Ouch
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